The 2014 annual Beaver Dam Christmas parade was a huge success this year but it wasn’t always the “Beaver Dam Christmas Parade”
The small Arizona towns of Beaver Dam, Littlefield, Scenic and Desert Springs make up the Virgin River Communities. It is the Virgin River Communities Board members that develop, organize and execute the Christmas Parade each year…at least for the past few years that the council has been formed.
Originally, about 18 or 19 years ago the Beaver Dam Christmas Parade was organized by the Lion’s Club of Mesquite but held in the small community. Each year after the parade the Lion’s Club would sell hot dogs as a fundraising effort.
This annual event, run by the Lion’s Club, was greatly appreciated by the small communities who, at that time, had much less than their current population of 1053 people but as the population of the Virgin River Communities grew so did their need for independent events.
All the money made by the Lion’s Club, gathered from the Arizona residents benefitted the Mesquite, Nevada residents but the small community members had a different idea.
A few of the residents gathered together and came up with a plan to organize their own parade for the benefit of the children in the small Arizona communities and the ‘real’ Beaver Dam Christmas Parade was born.
Organizing and executing the parade in the early years of the Arizona taking over was difficult according to BD resident Gwen Crystal who was one of the first organizers and continues to attend and participate in the parade every year along with husband Arzie Crystal.
“Things were hard and we wondered if we could actually pull it off but we did it!” said Gwen Crystal. “Our little children deserved a wonderful Christmas and that’s what we set out to give them… and hopefully we’ve accomplished that each year.”
These days the parade is much easier to organize and takes only a few months. Members of the Virgin River Communities Board, led by parade organizer Nikki Stoddard, began their organization efforts in September…it used to take all year long. It’s been well developed over the latter years according to Stoddard who organized the 2014 parade for the first time. Stoddard told the MLN that she had a great committee and some people with wonderful experience which helped her tremendously while organizing this year’s event.
This year the parade had over 125 participants who decked, not the halls, but various vehicles. Many of the participants were local residents who elaborately decorated ATV’s and Razors. Other participants were club members such as the Beaver Dam Lawnmower Racing Association members on their…you guessed it…lawnmowers. The Beaver Dam Fire and Rescue men donned the lights and the sirens on the fire truck and ambulance for the appreciative crowd.
Beaver Dam residents may have taken over the parade organization from the Mesquite club but they don’t hesitate to invite the Mesquite organizations along for the ride. The Exchange Club of Mesquite graciously accepts that invitation on a yearly basis to take their place in the line-up and hand out flags to the crowd of onlookers.
No, Beaver Dam doesn’t mind inviting members outside the community to participate as long as they don’t mind all the proceeds going to the children of the Virgin River Communities. Each year the present Beaver Dam parade along with the craft fair which directly follows the parade raises the money needed to buy presents for Santa and Mrs. Clause to give each and every child the following year.
The parade route isn’t long. The event isn’t huge. The parade route begins at the Beaver Dam Store and ends at the elementary school, not even a mile away, but the impact of the event lasts a life time for the children… and young at heart residents of the Virgin River Communities.